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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:42 pm 
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Hello,

Firstly, a very big thank you to all contributors to this forum. The information here is excellent and has helped me with my mount choice. I decided to go with the Goto version principally as I am also a keen astro-imager. I was also surprised that the prices were the same for both Goto and Non-Goto, basically exchanging a Synscan handset for a tripod. My plan is to use an existing Manfrotto, and the tabletop base should be quite practical for quick looks with a telescope at home.

I bought the unit from Sherwoods (great price and service) and I can confirm that the shutter control port is wired and functional, though no lead is included. An RS232 lead is provided and with the handset connected to the mount and to the computer Papywizard worked with the handset in 'PC Mode'. When traveling light I might consider building the TTL-RS232 interface, but although a little bulky the Synscan handset is very light.

I must say that my initial impressions are that the mount and the Papywizard software are both first class. Now I'm looking forward to interfacing my N810 and modding the mount for pano use.:D

Greg

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Greg
Canon 50D, 10-20 EFS, 17-85 EFS, Sigma 7-300 APO, N810 with PapyWizard, Baracoda BT-RS232 dongle, Merlin Synscan AZ Goto Mount
www.cosmicshed.com


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:05 pm 
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beekeg wrote:
Now I'm looking forward to interfacing my N810 and modding the mount for pano use.:D

Greg

Welcome to the forum, Greg.

Have you acquired a Bluetooth interface for the Merlin mount?

What camera and lens(es) do you plan to use with the system?

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Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Hi Andrew,

I have a Barracoda Serial to BT dongle that I will try. Hopefully this will work. If not I'll try one of the units that have been confirmed to work.

I have a Canon 50D and a selection of lenses, 10-22mm, 17-85mm and a Sigma 70-300 Apo, plus some Pentax 67 lenses that I use for widefield astro work. I'm considering the Samyang 8mm fish-eye at some stage too, but I'm a bit concerned that the mount may encroach in to the FOV.

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Greg
Canon 50D, 10-20 EFS, 17-85 EFS, Sigma 7-300 APO, N810 with PapyWizard, Baracoda BT-RS232 dongle, Merlin Synscan AZ Goto Mount
www.cosmicshed.com


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:24 pm 
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beekeg wrote:
Hi Andrew,

I have a Barracoda Serial to BT dongle that I will try. Hopefully this will work.

I doubt it because the interface on Merlin is TLL not RS232 - but maybe you plan to run it via the Synscan handset?

Quote:
If not I'll try one of the units that have been confirmed to work.

If you go that route then the Deltawave PapyMerlin Bluetooth device from Claude (Claudevh on the forum) is an excellent device:
http://www.papymerlin.com/interface-%C3%A9lectronique/

Quote:
I'm considering the Samyang 8mm fish-eye at some stage too, but I'm a bit concerned that the mount may encroach in to the FOV.

I doubt that will be a problem - I can use my Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye on the Merlin.

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Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:41 pm 
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Thanks for the advice. Yes I plan to use the bluetooth connected to the handset's RS232 port. I'll report back if I'm successful.

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Greg
Canon 50D, 10-20 EFS, 17-85 EFS, Sigma 7-300 APO, N810 with PapyWizard, Baracoda BT-RS232 dongle, Merlin Synscan AZ Goto Mount
www.cosmicshed.com


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:04 am 
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Don't forget to power the BT module ;)

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Canon 20D + 17-40/f4 L USM + 70-200/f4 L USM + 50/f1.4 USM
Merlin/Orion panohead + Papywizard on Nokia N800 and HP TC-1100


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:00 pm 
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Hi,

I tried the Baracoda BT-RS232 unit (BDRS02) and I am very pleased to say that it works with the N810 and Merlin Goto Mount with the default settings. Now I need to make a shorter serial lead to the handset and secure everything to the mount/tripod with Velcro strips.

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Greg
Canon 50D, 10-20 EFS, 17-85 EFS, Sigma 7-300 APO, N810 with PapyWizard, Baracoda BT-RS232 dongle, Merlin Synscan AZ Goto Mount
www.cosmicshed.com


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:46 pm 
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Here's a couple of pictures of my setup.

I made the dovetail from a piece of 3.5mm thick aluminium plate. To get everything square and on the axis of rotation of the mount I needed a rubber pad similar of thickness between the camera and dovetail bar. No modification of the mount was necessary and there is just enough clearance between the dovetail clamp and the 10-22 lens.

The handset is secured to the mount using sticky-backed Vecro (hook and eye tape), as is the voltage regulator (grey box) for the BT dongle (dangling). The position of the latter needs to be changed and the wires shortened.

One minor issue is that the shutter fires when the release cable is connected and it is not possible to review images on the Canon's LCD. Is this normal or is there a setting I need to change somewhere? Papywizard controls the camera and mount as expected, so it is not a major issue.

Image

Image

Click to see larger images.

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Greg
Canon 50D, 10-20 EFS, 17-85 EFS, Sigma 7-300 APO, N810 with PapyWizard, Baracoda BT-RS232 dongle, Merlin Synscan AZ Goto Mount
www.cosmicshed.com


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:19 pm 
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Good transformation Greg ... a little bit "complicated" (cables, accessories etc ...) ;)
beekeg wrote:
One minor issue is that the shutter fires when the release cable is connected and it is not possible to review images on the Canon's LCD. Is this normal or is there a setting I need to change somewhere?

If you have not transformed your "remote cable" this is normal ...
1. the release cable fire when ... : this is normal if your camera is "on", the small stereo plug cause a short circuit at the moment you plug into the Merlin, just pay attention to turn the camera off when you plug the cable !
2. Not possible to review ... : also normal when the camera is connected to the Merlin with a "unmodified cable" the "prerelease" (also named "focus") of the camera is activated and in the prerelease mode you can't see the images on the LCD.
You must modify the cable in order to supress the prerelease contact , have a look on the next post :
http://www.autopano.net/forum/p55045-2009-11-19-22-50-19#p55045

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:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:14 pm 
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Thanks Claude:) I may rehouse the PSU in a box with the BT dongle to simplify things if the hanging wires cause problem. Thanks for the advice on the shutter cable:cool:

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Greg
Canon 50D, 10-20 EFS, 17-85 EFS, Sigma 7-300 APO, N810 with PapyWizard, Baracoda BT-RS232 dongle, Merlin Synscan AZ Goto Mount
www.cosmicshed.com


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:32 pm 
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Have people had luck with these low-cost alt-az goto mounts for astrophotography? My experience with them is that their siderial tracking modes are meant just to keep an object centered in the field for viewing, so it doesn't drift, and that they do their adjustment in pulses which is useless for exposures of more than a fraction of a second. Of course, no alt-az system is suitable for really long exposure astrophotography unless it rotates the camera too, but most people don't take exposures that long.

Frankly, I would be wary of any of these cheap telescopes of the sort that come with the skywatcher etc. for photography. I have the Meade etx-90c and I also got a Skywatcher 80mm refractor with my mount. The 80mm refractor is truly disposable, the photos taken with it, even on land are low contrast with distortions. The Meade is better but also very low contrast. In addition, the fields are not very flat so you will find your scenes out of focus at the edges, something the eye handles but cameras don't.

There is a deal going on the surplus 6" Ritchey-Chretien scopes. I have one on order for just $299, but they were originally about $1200 and people raved about them at that price. I expect much better from that.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:36 pm 
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as we are with the synscan az hadcontroller and the bt-mmdul... Is it possible, to upload a new firmware into the synscan-controller via the bt-modul?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:30 pm 
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Hello Socke,

The firmware upgrade is possible with the "Synscan az handcontroller" via the "PC Direct mode" (see your manual).
You must connect the handcontroler via the RS232 connector (on the base of the hand-controler) with the delivered cable + a "USB to RS232" convertor device like the Keyspan. (quite easy to find in a computer shop or on Ebay, search for "usb to rs232")

The upgrade trough the BT module isn't possible !

Just a question, do-you know the firmware version of your Merlin ???
See the log file of Papywizard JUST AFTER CONNECTION, 2 or 3 lines before the end of the log.

Is that necessary to upgrade?

Wich Firmware version do-you wan to load into your Merlin ?

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:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:20 am 
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Thanks for your response Claude,

i don't want to update the merlin, just the hand-controller, if that's possible, because i'd like to use the "3 stars allocation". But maybe the synscan az isn't capable of that and i have to live with "2 stars allocation" and manual corrections.

i have to look for the firmware-versions at home on my netbook...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:46 am 
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Yes, you can also update the Synscan hand controler firmware "only" just via the same system.
But you should use the SynScan firmware loader 3.0 NOT the Motor firmware loader...
I believe that the next link will provide all what you need :
http://www.skywatchertelescope.net/swtinc/news.php?id=14

Be carefull and good luck

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:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:41 pm 
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ok, i'm a bit late... my firmware is 020581. I guess, there was no rs232-cable delivered with my goto-merlin, but i have to confirm that...

edit, ok, found the cable and a 232-usb converter. Let's see, what happens :D


Last edited by Socke on Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:45 pm 
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Ok, updating from 020581 to 020681 worked, but updating the handcontroller doesn't work. The update-program can't find the controller :/ The mc-updater has no problem finding it... wired.

I also found an mc-firmware 2.07, what's up with that one?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:05 pm 
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sorry, i have to get on your nerves again... i finaly updated to 020781. But updating the handcontroller is still impossible. I finally took an old pc, which still has serial ports, but already runs win-xp. No luck with that on either... neither the controller-search-program, nor the updater finds the controller, although i connected it standalone to 12v external supply.

Any ideas?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:29 pm 
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Is it vital to update the hand controller?

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Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:57 am 
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well, it's not vital, regarding the work with papywizzard, but i hope to get a better alignment for star-photography. And in a further step, i'd like to see if i'm able to get the 3.09 (allview) on the controller, to get some simple panos, without the need for my netbook.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:58 am 
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ok, i found the solution elsewhere:

you have to press 0+8 while powering up the handcontroller, to startup in update-mode.

The 3.09 works flawless! I can choose between panoramic and astro-function and both is working nice.

So my merlin thinks, that he's an allview :lol:


Last edited by Socke on Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:37 pm 
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You mean that by upgrading the "AZ Synscan Hand Controler" of your "Merlin goto", you have got the functionalities of the "Allview Mount" ???

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:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:43 pm 
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exactly!!!

I made a youtube-video to prove :cool:


Last edited by Socke on Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:01 am 
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Hi Socke,

This is a "very important contribution" for all users having a "GoTo Merlin" version ...

I wish to thank-you !!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

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:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:09 am 
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Just a last question ...
Where do-you get the 3.09 HC firmware ???

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:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM


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